Seeing how it's the beginning of the new year, which typically motivates many newcomers to the gym, it's probably a good time to discuss a few 'unwritten rules' of the gym.
I completely understand, and remember, the feeling of intimidation as you step in to the weight room for the first time.
Everyone looks as though they’re pro’s who have been doing it for forever (they’re not and they haven’t), and you feel as though no matter what you touch you’ll do it wrong and risk either embarrassing or hurting yourself. This is enough to put some people off and we can't have that.
The truth is that most regulars are either happy you’re joining the ranks or don’t care that you’re there at all. They don’t own anything here and are familiar with the experience. Any concerns will only be about the potential impact on their session, so if we follow general gym etiquette, there'll be no problem. To help with this, here are 10 tips to make you feel more comfortable in your early days as a gym goer.
1). Try not to set up and expansive circuit during peak times.
Circuits can be a great time saver if you need a good workout in a hurry, just be smart about how much of a footprint you're taking up as you do it. When attendance is high and equipment availability is low, it can be frustrating if someone is bouncing between several machines and not allowing someone else to use them in between. This leads us to tip 2...
2). Offer to let others ‘work in’ with you.
‘Working in’ just means letting someone use it while you’re resting or not using it temporarily. Have a chat, let them know how much you've got to do and you'll be able to work it out quick smart. Also, be a cool cat and help them load/unload as you alternate.
3). Use the platforms for deadlifts and olympic lifts. Nothing else.
Also, don't walk on a platform in use. Not obeying this is considered poor form.
4). Move away from the dumbbell rack once you select your weight.
It’s not uncommon for someone to grab a pair of dumbbells and start curling them just centimetres from the rack. It’s unnecessary and makes it awkward and difficult for others to either begin or finish their set.
5. During Busy hours, select one set of Dumbbells at a time.
Your program might call for drop sets or you might not be sure what weight will be good for that exercise. Either way, etiquette calls for you to not call dibs on every dumbbell and just make the short trip back to the rack when you need. It's also a good way to sneak in extra lifts.
6). Take advice in the spirit it was meant.
I can guarantee you'll eventually have several conversations where someone will offer unsolicited advice to you in the gym. It's almost always meant with positive intentions so it's best you accept it as so rather than be offended.
7). Wipe down everything after use.
Shouldn’t need to explain this one but it's a biggy. In fact you should really bring a towel to the gym and use that too- for your sake and the person coming after you.
8). Use deodorant (and make it roll-on).
Guys are the worst offenders here. Anticipate the fact that you’re there to work hard and sweat is a bi-product of that. Some gyms don’t have the best circulation so either you catch a wiff of bad BO or you’ll suffocate from the heavy use of Lynx Africa and no one wants that.
9). Don’t stare.
It’s always super obvious and even if it's because you're in awe of an experienced lifter, they feel the same way you would now. Quite often I’ll hear from people, who should have a lot of confidence in themselves, be completely thrown during a session because they feel like a certain person has been watching them the whole time. Not Good.
10). Put everything away when you finish.
This is the big one. Huge. The biggest frustration for trainers and members alike is people not unloading their weights or putting back each piece of kit they've used. Your parents didn't raise you that way, c'mon guys.
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